Stocks Rise on Hopes for Budget Deal

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 Index gaining for a fifth consecutive session, following hopeful signs of progress in budget talks being held in Washington. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 78.56 points, or 0.60 percent, at 13,248.44. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 9.29 points, or 0.65 percent, at 1,427.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 35.34 points, or 1.18 percent, at 3,022.30.

U.S. regulators are near a settlement with Google Inc in a dispute over the search giant’s efforts to stop the sale of products it says infringe essential patents, according to two sources close to the probe.

US small businesses grew increasingly anxious about the state of the country’s economy in November as concerns about the fiscal cliff took hold. The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index fell to 87.5, the lowest reading since March 2010, from 93.1 in October, and one of the largest monthly drops since records began in 1986.

Delta Air Lines has agreed to buy almost half of Virgin Atlantic for $360 million. The deal plans to set up a joint venture between Delta and Virgin Atlantic that will allow the two carriers to form a closer relationship to coordinate on schedules and operations by the end of 2013.

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